The Real Science Behind Lifetime's 'Bad Blood'

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction — and nobody knows that better than fans of Lifetime movies. Lifetime is the expert in providing sensational films about real events, so is the network's newest movie, Bad Blood, based on a true story? It premieres on Saturday, March 28 at 8 p.m. and you should get ready to be officially creeped out by the movie's villain Oscar (played by Brett Rickaby). After a bone marrow transplant, Oscar has the DNA of the film's heroine Lauren (portrayed by Taylor Cole), and she becomes a suspect for crimes she didn't commit because of it. With a storyline like that, Bad Blood can't be real, right?

Lifetime's synopsis reads, "A woman falsely accused of murder realizes that the person she donated bone marrow to now has a match for her DNA...and is using this new identity to implicate her in his crimes as his obsession for her grows."

The bizarre obsession thing sounds like something tailored for fiction, but could any of the other details be real? There have been cases where people have been falsely accused of murder based on incorrect DNA evidence (things like partial DNA matches exist and can lead to wrongful accusations) and DNA evidence can be fabricated, but those scenarios aren't the premise of Bad Blood. Lauren's real DNA is what the villain Oscar is using — because it's now a part of him.

As star Rickaby posted on Twitter, get ready for some demented times while watching Bad Blood:

Of course this situation is super elaborate and it appears it's not based on a true story and there are no cases of it actually happening in real life. The Mayo Clinic does not list "the theft of your DNA" on their page about the risks of bone marrow donation.

But just because Bad Blood isn't based on a true story doesn't mean there isn't some truth to the science behind the premise. According to Stanford's Tech Museum, a person who receives a bone marrow transplant can have two different types of DNA afterward — the type of DNA in their blood would match the donor and the type of DNA in their cells would be their own. This happens because blood cells are replaced constantly, so after a bone marrow transplant, recipients of the transfer would have blood that is made up of the donor's DNA — or in some cases, a mix of their blood and the donor's. (Oh, science.)

So, say a person who received a bone marrow transplant committed a crime and left some of his or her blood at the scene of a crime. The bone marrow donor may be suspected because the blood DNA would be the same — but only the blood. Fingerprints left at the crime wouldn't match the bone marrow donor. And if that sounds too wacky for you, there was a case in Alabama where this type of DNA mixup happened after a bone marrow transplant.

With Bad Blood being based just a baby bit in reality, it makes for great fodder for a Lifetime movie. (And the science behind the DNA and bone marrow transplants does give insight into the cleverness of the title of the movie.) But don't let this creepy film dissuade you from being a bone marrow donor. Just maybe don't donate your bone marrow to a man like Oscar.